Irresponsible timber harvest practices are believed to be the primary source of sediments entering the Humboldt Bay watershed. This sedimentation loading has contributed to extreme changes in elevation throughout the Bay such that many fishing vessels are unable to berth at low tide. Excessive sedimentation also has negative ecosystem impacts such as reducing successful salmon reproduction and eelgrass abundance, which are critically important for environmental quality. IFR will use the grant funds to support grassroots advocacy focused on preventing and remediating impacts from forestry practices in the Elk River and other salmon bearing streams. IFR’s partner organization Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations is cosponsoring Senate Bill 69, which contains provisions that would mandate Regional Water Quality Control Board oversight of sediment management plans within Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) and other timber related permits. Currently, THPs are required to consider sediment mitigation, but these plans are not subject to Water Board approval nor are they required to comply with area TMDL requirements. IFR’s advocacy for this legislation, which entails energizing grassroots support from Humboldt Bay communities (including tribes and other stakeholder groups) and speaking in support of sediment management reform in Sacramento, will greatly increase the chances of the bill’s passage. IFR believes the passage of this landmark legislation will not only decrease sediment loading in the region, but also it will also increase attention to sedimentation impacts to coastal communities in other areas of the State.
Institute for Fisheries Resources
Reducing coastal sedimentation in Humboldt Bay
California Watershed Protection Fund, 2019
Del Norte County ; Humboldt County ; Mendocino County ; Trinity County